Online Math Game!

Hey everyone!

I know, I know, Meaghan and I have both been entirely neglecting our blog lately.  We both have busy lives right now, perhaps busier than ever before!  I may have created a New Year resolution around the concept of “keeping things simple”…another blog post for another time.

For now I’d like to share with you all the online math game that has completely captured the hearts and minds of my grade 7 students.  I am incredibly grateful to a colleague at my grade 8 school for sharing this resource with me.  I just tried this math game last block with my grade 7s and it was hands down the best block of math I’ve ever experienced as a teacher…and I did nothing.

The game is called Prodigy Game and you can access it HERE. Prodigy Game requires the teacher (or parent) to create an account to work from – this process literally took me less than five minutes.  After I created my account I printed off the three step directions for my students so that they had very easy, clear instruction on how to join my account and create their own avatars in order to play.  My students’ process of logging in and creating their avatars was super high energy and fun!  When I was setting up my teacher account I chose the math curriculum prescribed by the game because our BC curriculum is not an option; however, the standard grade 7 math curriculum seemed to work well for my class and we didn’t run in to any issues with questions being too hard or frustrating to accomplish.

My students spent the entire math block (around 45 minutes) playing Prodigy Game in the computer lab.  I witnessed fist pumps when questions were answered correctly, I heard exchanges of, “When you get enough points make sure you buy the pony!” and I even experienced a face to face mini refresh lesson on lowest common denominators.  This game is golden, you guys.  And free.  And so incredibly easy to use.

For me, I think the best part is that now that we have worked in Prodigy Game for a block of time I can go in to my teacher account and see where my students excelled and struggled.  I can see which questions and curricular content is specifically challenging for them.  I can also (this is the coolest part) create my own assignments for either my whole class or individual students and have the students complete my assignments in game playing format.  I especially love this feature because it means I can create lessons for my most struggling learners and they still get to be part of my class and participate in the exact same game as every other student.

This game is genius!  I caught one of our special ed teachers in the hall after math and exploded with excitement while telling her all about this game.  She promptly high-fived me and told me to send her the link, but I already had – ha!

Our math block finished today with one student asking this question as he walked out the door…”Mrs. Alleyn, so…can I log in at home and keep playing this math game?”

My reply: Heck YES!

Try it out with your class or your own children and let us know what you think!




Teach it Tuesday: Language Learning

Today in French we started our “DuoLingo Tuesdays”! DuoLingo is a free, easy to access language learning website for learners of all ages and levels.  Why DuoLingo?  I chose to use this resource not only because it’s free and easily accessible, but also because it provides a “game like” approach to language learning.  Most of my students play video games and are very knowledgeable in the structure of winning points and passing/failing levels before moving on.  DuoLingo offers a video game like approach to language learning because one must pass a level before moving on (unless you succeed in the chapter test challenge).  DuoLingo also provides the learner with four hearts per level; every time the learner makes a mistake a heart disappears (if the learner runs out of hearts he/she must start the level again.  Learners can also gain hearts back by correcting errors).  Finally, DuoLingo is interactive; the program has the learner typing, speaking and listening in the language he/she is working with.  *Note: students will likely benefit from the use of headphones when using DuoLingo in the classroom.

I teach all three grade 8 French classes and I was really excited to get going on this interactive language learning initiative because I’m curious to see what my students can learn from this program.  We are lucky at our school because we have a school set of shared iPads.  I’ve managed to book the iPads during my French blocks every Tuesday for the next five weeks so that my students can plug in and use technology for language learning.

I introduced “DuoLingo Tuesdays” by guiding my classes through the account set up process on DuoLingo.  Once we had an introduction to the website I let the students take their iPads and get to work!  Most students remembered to bring headphones to class today (I reminded them yesterday) and once they plugged in and logged on the language learning began.  It was really neat to see my students working hard to develop their language learning skills on the iPads; some students even passed level one in the short amount of time we had!

I plan to assess my students’ learning on DuoLingo by floating around with a checklist and tapping in to their session either by watching them work or by asking them some questions about their learning.  For example, today I asked a few students to share some new words they learned from their brief first DuoLingo session…those asked were able to respond right away (something that doesn’t happen a lot in the French classroom!)

I think this DuoLingo Tuesday thing is going to be a hit…we will only plug in and log on once a week, which leaves us two more French blocks during the week to get other language learning done.  For me, this is a bit of an experiment, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with my students’ basic French comprehension.

Let me know if you try DuoLingo with your students or on your own!  My mother in law has passed the entire DuoLingo French program twice and has since moved on to Spanish…she’s a champ!  Happy learning 🙂